Consumer interest in cannabis continues to rise in Colorado, where marijuana shops saw an increase of nearly 10 percent in sales between 2016 and 2017, The Cannabist reported.
The shops took in a haul of nearly $120 million in sales of recreational and medical cannabis in November of last year. That number represents a 9.5 percent boost from the year before, according to data released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Revenue.
But medical marijuana sales slowed down in November 2017, as stores saw the third-lowest monthly total for the year at $31.9 million. In comparison, stores sold $87.7 million of recreational product that month.
But through the first 11 months of 2017, sales eclipsed the $1.31 billion recorded for all of 2016 by climbing to $1.38 billion. However, the annual sales growth rate continued to narrow through November, dipping below 16 percent.
While Colorado announced in December that it would start publishing official sales data for the industry, The Cannabist had previously estimated state-wide sales based on formulas that were verified by officials.
Even with rising sales, managing cash is a challenge for marijuana stores. Although the legal status of marijuana within some states has been modified and has varied greatly over the last 20 years in states like Colorado, it is still a Schedule I narcotic – and illegal to buy, sell or possess in the United States. Some financial institutions – like a company in Maryland – have decided to provide lending services to those in the industry, but doing so can be a challenge.
Faced with the problem of being a cash-heavy industry, some in the marijuana business have turned to blockchain. Cannabis Science, for example, announced last month that it is planning an initial coin offering (ICO) as it prepares to launch its third dispensary in California.